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Newest Member: BrnEyes777 (45750)

User Topic: I was desperate
heartbroken0903
♀ 27879
Member # 27879
Default  Posted: 5:18 PM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This is rehashing of old stuff, but I wanted to post it in case it could help others.

You know that desperate woman that people make fun of? The one who can't stand on her own two feet, who always seems to need a man to validate her, who is clingy, insecure, a black hole of need? I don't make fun of her. I was her, for over 10 years.

Through various events in childhood and adolescence, and due in no small part also to an unhealthy attachment to fantasy-based and other fictional portrayals of love & romance, I became convinced that I was only worthy as a female if I had the attraction and attention of a man. Or more than one at a time.

I could never let go of relationships after they were over. Part of this was a deep fear that I would never find someone better; that even if THIS was bad, it was a.) better than being alone, and b.) it wasn't that bad---"could always be worse" syndrome. And part of it was a twisted combination of ego and arrogance and jealousy all rolled together: even if I were the one to end the relationship, I didn't want anyone else to have them. Controlling or attempting to control other people's lives has always been an issue. This comes from modeling my mother---she was very alpha female and domineering as I was growing up, both in her marriage to my father and with us kids. She had high expectations and we were all expected to toe the line. Instead of learning to respect others as unique persons and let them make their own choices, I learned to manipulate, threaten, and passive-aggressively control those in my sphere of influence. This is not meant to blame my mother---I love her dearly, and I made my own choices to be this way.

As I reflect on my past relationships, I cringe at how desperate I must have looked and how---contrary to how I believed at the time---I was actually relinquishing control; giving the power to the very men I perceived to be powerless. With some of the relationships, I was constantly doing the "pick me" dance---even if there was no one competing for his affection---terrified of losing, of being left behind, of simply being left. In one of the relationships, I allowed myself to be abused (not beaten) because I hadn't gotten out when I had the chance...because I was too scared of hurting feelings. (Long story.) In still others, I hid my true self and tried to change into what I thought the man wanted, shifting colors like a chameleon, because I was so grateful to have been "chosen" and was afraid to be myself for fear of rejection.

I broke off most of my relationships. Because my perception of what love and romance "should" look like was deeply flawed, the relationships never seemed to measure up to my ideals. There was always something better, I thought---there must be. This can't be what it's supposed to be like. I was unwilling to settle (or what I *thought* was "settling")...but yet I couldn't let go, either. I couldn't relinquish what I thought to be the upper hand. So, I left doors open. I would flirt with exes; even if I had no intention of restarting the relationship, I made it seem as though that door wasn't quite closed. In some cases (as in the affair that caused my divorce) it truly wasn't closed, and I had moved into a new relationship too quickly without letting go of the old one and the feelings therein. I just had to keep them on that line...with the notion that I could simply reel them in any time at my pleasure. It was a cover, a safety net designed so that I could only fall so far. If one thing didn't work out, here was my backup plan at the ready.

It also (falsely) enhanced my feelings of self-worth, and overinflated my ego: if these men wanted me at one time, and still want me even after "moving on," then wow! I must really be something. I received 100% of my validation from external sources. I didn't even think---it truly didn't even cross my mind in any meaningful way besides the superficial---what I actually wanted out of life. I paid very little attention to what I might have to offer the world besides my looks, my sexuality, and the facade I was able to present in relationships to make my partners want to stick around.

There have been many, many changes over the past 3 years. While I still have much work to do on myself, in many ways I am barely recognizable from who I was. The divorce, obviously, was a huge wake-up call. The fact that overnight, everyone (literally everyone) in my immediate circle were all of a sudden unwilling to tolerate any of my shit for one.more.minute was a startling slap in the face. I decided I wanted more out of life than people who simply tolerated me because I wasn't as of yet too destructive, who had actually seen through me all along and known I wasn't genuine, but saw it as tolerably cute and quirky until I did too much damage to excuse. My diagnosis of a serious medical condition a couple of years back showed me that it would take away certain hallmarks of my personal makeup (sex drive = nil, for one thing) and that I'd better start looking reality in the face because it was bearing down on me REAL FAST. Turning 30 at around that same time made me realize that I had wasted---literally, wasted---13 years of my life on stupid fucking shit that didn't matter, when I should have been building a life that meant something. Knowing that my father died in February of 2011 never having seen me accomplish much beyond being a divorced cheater whose grandchildren he would never see was (and still is) a hard pill to swallow.

I've grown up a lot and I've taken stock of all my screwups very honestly over these past 3 years. I've made amends (or tried to) where I could. I'm not that desperate little girl anymore, begging for someone to love her, because I finally grasped the concept that it first comes from within.

To anyone who has read this far, thank you.


Me: XWS, 30s, 5-month EA/PA in '09-'10
Husband: XBS, 40s
No kids

Married 2.5 years
D-day 3/6/10
Divorced 5/14/10

We remarried in 2014.


Posts: 2319 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: the cat's meow
ophelia24
♀ 38438
Member # 38438
Default  Posted: 5:35 PM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What an awesome post. I see much of me in what you wrote. My inability to self-soothe, and seeking external validation has been a hallmark of my life to date. Hence self-destructive behaviours such as affairs, binge drinking/eating. So like you, I now have no where else to run, except into myself. And its a struggle to face these things and change some pretty shitty habits of a lifetime.

I realise I have been such a child, always needing something or someone to fix me and soothe me when I feel bad. And when I feel bad/hurt/sad,rather than sit with the discomfort, I have turned my rage on others in the hope they will feel as shitty as I do.

This growing up is not for the fainthearted. But at some point, it becomes harder to carry on as we are, than to make some changes for ourselves and to ourselves and realise the buck really does stop and start with us. And we can only hope that something happens to set us on this path, even if it is painful as shit, at least it feels like its doing SOMETHING, rather than just being in pain and trashing everything around us.

Thanks again for your post. It gave me much food for thought and came at a good time that I am grappling with my shit.


“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
― James Baldwin

Posts: 283 | Registered: Feb 2013
BaxtersBFF
♂ 26859
Member # 26859
Default  Posted: 6:23 PM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Great post heartbroken.

I wonder why none of us realized any of this shit before we blew up our worlds? It might have been so much easier to finally grow up.


WH - 44
BW - gerrygirl

Posts: 6103 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Boise
boxofchocolate
♀ 39663
Member # 39663
Default  Posted: 10:20 PM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

hi heartbroken,
I'm new here and 23 but I see lot of what you've mentioned in me. I want to learn from mistakes and learn to love myself so I can be worthy of my partner. There's this need for constant attention and approval and the first time I got it from someone besides my SO I just gave in. How do you get your self worth and respect back?

Thank you very much


Posts: 7 | Registered: Jun 2013
knightsbff
♀ 36853
Member # 36853
Default  Posted: 1:12 AM, June 27th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for posting this. It's good to look back at the old stuff and appreciate the good progress we've made. For me it provides a bit of encouragement for the stuff I'm working on now.


FWW 40's
D-day August 27, 2012
3 kids and 2 dogs

I edit often because I make a lot of typos. ☺️


Posts: 1509 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: Deep South, USA
authenticnow
♀ 16024
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 5:13 AM, June 27th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for sharing that, heartbroken.


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 38696 | Registered: Sep 2007
Trying33
♀ 38815
Member # 38815
Default  Posted: 8:24 AM, June 27th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Heartbroken, thanks for writing this. I can relate to a lot of what you're saying. Particularly the pull/push dynamic of getting the attention that you want and then pushing it away wondering if that's it. Also, the typical wayward thinking of love and romance and not being grown up enough to understand this is fleeting and not substantial enough to sustain a long lasting relationship.

I see you're reconciling with your XH after divorce and how you found each other again.

Do you think you became more "attractive" and/or respected once you became more psychologically healthy? That somehow your renewed sense of self and independence and moving away from being desperate and needy made people "want" you more and all for the right reasons?

I say this because, I am starting to realise the healthy behaviours that I adopt actually make my H really want to be with me. The positive communication and the way I listen and react set the tone for how he treats me. Sounds obvious, I know, but I never managed to put it into practice. The end result is the same but now I feel I'm starting to receive his attention for the right reasons as an oppose to being manipulative and demanding.

I'm finding that by not acting out to receive love and attention and by being assertive and not aggressive, is actually bringing H closer to me. My default position is to act out, scream and shout. I find myself automatically wanting to do this but am consciously changing the way I behave as I stay mindful that love and attention are not my God-given rights. I have to work hard to receive them with respect, understanding and patience.

I really don't like the way I am and want to change. Even if not for my M, for me and to remove the inner turmoil that I always experience.

Thanks for your encouragement on how things can change. It is possible I know.


Posts: 362 | Registered: Mar 2013
heartbroken0903
♀ 27879
Member # 27879
Default  Posted: 8:04 PM, June 27th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for everyone's comments.

But at some point, it becomes harder to carry on as we are, than to make some changes for ourselves and to ourselves and realise the buck really does stop and start with us.

That's right. I'm a believer in the theory that behaviors don't change until they have to---until it becomes no longer worth it to stay the same.

I wonder why none of us realized any of this shit before we blew up our worlds?

Me too.

How do you get your self worth and respect back?

On a basic level, it was the commitment to no more lying, no more cheating, and no more being less than genuine. Learning about myself and learning to appreciate myself as a person. Doing things for myself. Financially---this was big. Emotionally---dealing with my own feelings rather than looking to someone else to provide a distraction. Honesty was non-negotiable. I had the confidence of knowing that I was being straightforward and my true self in dealing with others. All of these helped to build self-respect and gain feelings of self-worth.

Knights and AN: you're welcome. It's hard to talk about this stuff. It's embarrassing and shameful to face up to being such a train wreck. But it is necessary and so worth it!

Do you think you became more "attractive" and/or respected once you became more psychologically healthy? That somehow your renewed sense of self and independence and moving away from being desperate and needy made people "want" you more and all for the right reasons?

100%. I know that for my XH, that had everything to do with it. But when I undertook the project of fixing my shit, it wasn't for him. I totally thought that we were done for good and had no notions of being able to "get him back." In my particular case, that would have just been falling back into the same old patterns---shape-shifting in hopes of pleasing someone else. I had to do it for me and me alone. He deciding that the new me was someone he liked was just a bonus.


Me: XWS, 30s, 5-month EA/PA in '09-'10
Husband: XBS, 40s
No kids

Married 2.5 years
D-day 3/6/10
Divorced 5/14/10

We remarried in 2014.


Posts: 2319 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: the cat's meow
JustDesserts
♂ 39665
Member # 39665
Default  Posted: 8:15 PM, June 27th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So, I left doors open. I would flirt with exes; even if I had no intention of restarting the relationship, I made it seem as though that door wasn't quite closed. In some cases (as in the affair that caused my divorce) it truly wasn't closed, and I had moved into a new relationship too quickly without letting go of the old one and the feelings therein. I just had to keep them on that line...with the notion that I could simply reel them in any time at my pleasure. It was a cover, a safety net designed so that I could only fall so far. If one thing didn't work out, here was my backup plan at the ready.

It also (falsely) enhanced my feelings of self-worth, and overinflated my ego: if these men wanted me at one time, and still want me even after "moving on," then wow! I must really be something. I received 100% of my validation from external sources. I didn't even think---it truly didn't even cross my mind in any meaningful way besides the superficial---what I actually wanted out of life. I paid very little attention to what I might have to offer the world besides my looks, my sexuality, and the facade I was able to present in relationships to make my partners want to stick around.

Really helpful personal insights to read. Thank you. JD


2 year EA/PA. DDay 3/12. Broke NC 6/13 w/one stupid 5 line e-mail (which brought me to SI). Me: WH, 50. Her: BW, 49. Married 19 years. Two kids. Dog. Reconciling...together.

Posts: 403 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: Suburbia, New England, USA
badchoice
♂ 35566
Member # 35566
Default  Posted: 8:59 PM, June 27th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Such a great post, thank you for sharing.

Emotionally---dealing with my own feelings rather than looking to someone else to provide a distraction.

Very insightful.


Me: fWH/BH 46

Separated transitioning to D


Posts: 730 | Registered: May 2012 | From: L.A.
pendant
♀ 32890
Member # 32890
Default  Posted: 9:29 PM, June 27th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Good post. As a BS I recognized many elements of that mindset in myself. It's food for thought for everyone in a significant relationship


"Once forgiving begins, dreams can be rebuilt. When forgiving is complete, meaning has been extracted from the worst of experiences and used to create a new set of moral rules and a new interpretation of life's events."

Posts: 423 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: North Carolina
Topic Posts: 11

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